European Integration at the Otto-Suhr-Institute: The Center & the Jean Monnet Chair
The focus on European Integration has a long tradition at the Otto-Suhr-Institute for Political Science at the Freie Universität Berlin. Starting with Gilbert Ziebura, who held the chair for International Relations from 1964 to 1974, more attention was paid to the problems of European Integration regarding research as well as teaching activities. A special focus was put on German-French relations and the analysis of French politics. Later on, this tradition was resumed by Gerhard Kiersch, Professor for Western Europe with a special focus on France from 1978 to 1994. Amongst other things, he established the joint German-French degree with the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po), which has been upheld in various forms to this day.
Research and teaching activities in the field of European Integration, which were increasingly dispersed in the 1990s, received a new dynamic with the appointment of Prof. Tanja A. Börzel to the Chair for European Integration in 2004 and the establishment of the Center for European Integration in the summer term of 2005. In September 2006, Prof. Tanja A. Börzel was furthermore awarded a Jean Monnet Chair for European Integration by the European Commission and became Director of the Jean Monnet Center of Excellence "The EU and its Citizens" in 2009. The Centers and the Jean Monnet Chair deal with manifold aspects of regional integration in research and teaching activities. The results of this work are presented at public events and through the working paper series of the Center for European Integration. It addresses the challenges the growing European Union is facing, as well as those concerning the new sub-discipline of European Studies that is evolving within the field of Political Science.
Our teaching activities contribute to various programs of study at and even beyond the Otto-Suhr-Institute for Political Science. We offer lectures and introductory courses that provide a general understanding on history and theories of European Integration, as well as on the mechanisms of the European Union and European politics in various policy fields. In addition, undergraduate and especially graduate classes offer in-depth knowledge on various topics of European Studies.
In our research, we focus on enlargement and neighborhood policy as well as the role of the EU as an international actor. Our research also focuses on the complex – vertical and transnational – mechanisms and processes of governance in the European multi-level system. Furthermore, research is conducted on individual fields of European policy, e.g. environmental and welfare policy, the constitutionalization and democratization of the EU, as well as on the emergence of a European identity.
Both research and teaching of the Jean Monnet Chair and the Center contribute to the newly established Center for Area Studies (CAS) at the Freie Universität Berlin, which is dedicated to interdisciplinary aims and objectives of regional research.
Faculty and staff
The faculty and staff of the Center comprises budgeted employees, research associates in externally funded projects and support staff, as well as a growing number of PhD candidates, the latter of which contribute greatly to scholarly debates at the Center. The findings of the team are published in various national and international books and scholarly journals. Unpublished working papers can be found in the online-series Berlin Working Papers on European Integration. The Center plays a leading role in public debates through contributions in national and international media, as well as through public events, usually carried out within the context of the Jean Monnet Chair.